By Troy Patterson
Updated March 17, 2020 at 03:05 AM EDT

Seek: Reports From the Edges of America & Beyond

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Episode Recaps

The pieces assembled in this book of journalism find Johnson — author of the novels Already Dead and Jesus’ Son — dropping into a strange zone, sizing up its freakiness, and dispatching a few ideas about yearning or fear. He’s searching out desolation and variously finding it in a Somalia of biblical starkness, in a Yuma Desert inhabited by a tenacious cult, and, on his honeymoon, in unforgiving Alaska. ”The Small Boys’ Unit,” the best of the 11 pieces here, finds him dodging rockets and caged by bureaucrats as he waits to interview the president of Liberia. Though Johnson’s sentences capture horrors of the flesh and hungerings of the soul with raw clarity, his strong voice is too often all that shapes the pieces here. These ”reports” are essayistic vignettes whose striking moods cannot mask their frequent formlessness. B

Seek: Reports From the Edges of America & Beyond

type
  • Book
genre
author
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